I watched the trailer for Pixar’s latest film, The Good Dinosaur, a few days ago. I’m going to be honest. I had NO CLUE what it was going to be about. But regardless, we love Pixar, so I gathered up both kids and we drove over to the screening last night.
Oh my heart! I didn’t realize we were going to be in for such an emotional roller coaster.
The movie begins with the introduction of a dinosaur family (in a time where the asteroid missed Earth!) of what I think are Apatosaurus’. Arlo is the runt of the family and is constantly trying to find his place and make his mark. He then meets Spot, a feral cave boy, who has been eating all of his family’s food.
Then, in typical Disney fashion, a parent dies. WHY????????? I mean, for real, is that the only way kids can overcome a major hurdle. Anyway, back to the plot. After the death, Arlo confronts Spot and they both fall in the river. The rest of the movie follows their journey to get Arlo back home.
It’s a sweet film with beautiful 3D imagery. I usually detest 3D animation, but this was both subtle and spectacular. There was only one scene where I felt a bit nauseous.
The focus in the film is on the friendship that blossoms between Arlo and Spot. It’s sort of like a story of a boy and his dog, just with a dinosaur and the boy being the dog. There are several laugh out loud moments, as well as many where I teared up. I really appreciated the overall message of confronting your fears (which everyone has) and discovering who you truly are and what you’re capable of.
What age is appropriate for this movie?
This is a tough one. My four year old was very much impacted by the film and sobbed through the last few minutes. The movie has a happy ending, but she wasn’t able to grasp exactly what was happening. There weren’t many words, just a very tender scene and I think she was confused. If you have a sensitive soul, you may want to wait until it’s out on video for a smaller screen so you can pause and talk about things.
It also has several scenes that some children will find downright scary. There are a few thunderstorms, raging waters, an avalanche, and some mean and scary Pterodactyls. Neither of my kids seemed to be affected by it but I was a bit worried.
My seven year old really enjoyed the entire movie. He didn’t seem bothered by any of the traumatic scenes, but that’s just sort of how he is. He wasn’t impacted by How to Train Your Dragon 2 or Big Hero 6, so if your child was, you might want to proceed with caution or at least have a conversation before you go.
All in all, I thought this film was really well done. It has a good message, lovely scenery and adorable characters that you’ll fall in love with. Can’t really argue with that now can you?
The Good Dinosaur opens tomorrow in theaters across the country. It’s rated PG and has a run time of 1 hr and 40 minutes.